Finca Matalapa is a classic estate coffee, long before there were mini-mills and micro-lots. It has a complete independent mill to service the farm, from the tree through wet-processing, patio drying, hulling and preparation, to loading the coffee in jute bags and packing the shipping container. The mill is filled with fantastic, classic coffee equipment painted in bold colors. And it's the passion of the owner, Vickie Ann Dalton de Diaz, and the love of archaic machinery on the part of her husband that keeps the mill running and the coffee tasting so wonderful! Finca Matalapa is in the Libertad area, not far from the capital of San Salvador, on a west-facing slop ranging from 1200 meters up to the ridge top at 1350 meters. It's a 4th generation coffee estate totaling 120 hectares and was founded in the late 1800's by Fidelia Lima, great grandmother of the Vickie. She maintains 14 acres of virgin tropical forest and keeps her coffee plants shaded with over forty varieties of larger trees. The cup has the character I aspire to find in El Salvador Bourbon-type coffees, though because of the strong winds in the area they find the native Salvador Pacas varietal to fare better in this region. Pacas is a natural mutation of the Bourbon varietal.
This coffee has great balance and sweet accent notes. The dry fragrance has sweet citrus, praline, honey and floral notes at City+, and a syrupy molasses sweetness at Full City roast. You can find the same sweet, mild citrus in the wet aroma, with butter-caramel and Almond Roca scents. The cup is bright, with bracing orange acidity, laced with slight floral bits. As it cools my lighter roasts (City+) became more and more bright and dynamic, lemony with a cinnamon note and malty grain sweetness. Light roasts have a correspondingly light body, but it fits the high-toned, refreshing flavor profile overall. I preferred this roast level for brewed coffee; the finish is high-toned and sweet. I felt the Full City roast level was a little more pedestrian. But if you like a more bittersweet cup with softer acidity, FC roast works great too. Overall this Peaberry lot is the brighter, livelier version of the Matalapa flat bean coffee, and excellent brewed in a vacuum pot, dripper or Technivorm. It's a very small crop this year, and Vickie could produce only 5 bags of peaberry for us, compared to 22 last year! But still, we are excited about the cup quality of this coffee.